Bonfire Night Cocktails

Bonfire Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Day or Gunpowder Treason Plot…Day (okay, noone calls it that, but I’m pretty sure I’m missing another name!), is celebrated in England each year on November 5th.

I hate having to scroll five minutes through long paragraphs before getting to a recipe, so you can read more about it elsewhere. Suffice it to say it’s basically the equivalent of USA’s Independence Day–festivities, fireworks, and so on. Somewhere local will have a GIANT bonfire (the one I usually went to had to be 50-100 feet across), and some food trucks will be around with hot chocolate, drinks, and snacks.

I decided to make 2 cocktails for the occasion. Why 2? I hadn’t tried a smoked cocktail before, so I wanted to make more than one. For science.

First cocktail: apple cider gin with a toasted marshmallow garnish
Second cocktail: pear ginger fizz with thyme and cinnamon

I decided to make them very similar, just with different flavors.

Basic recipe for reference:

1 part fruit cider/juice

1 part gin

Dash of aromatic bitters & orange bitters

2 parts (or more to taste) mixer

Quick disclaimers before I go on to full recipe: I’ve never made either recipe before, so we’re going on an adventure together! I used this recipe for inspiration.

Smoke. I don’t have a smoking gun. I’ve seen some alternatives online, so I decided to try 2 different ones. Spoiler alert: while both made the glasses smell tasty, neither really worked after I added the drink. Let me know in the comments if you’ve found another way!

I used fresh fruit for my juice/cider. Do feel free to buy already made, but I really liked the freshness of mine!

Photos are at the end with some additional tips and commentary!

Pear & Ginger Fizz

1 part gin

1 part pear juice

Dash of aromatic bitters

Dash of orange bitters

Ginger beer/ale

Fresh thyme (leave it out of the refrigerator to dry a bit beforehand)

Cinnamon sticks

Ice cubes

Cider gin cocktail

1 part gin

1 part apple cider

Dash of aromatic bitters

Dash of orange bitters

Hard cider


Ice cubes

Fruit cider/juice (skip if you’re using store bought)

I used 1 fruit per drink, which gave me the perfect amount!

Peel and cube fruit. Place in blender with a couple tablespoons of water (add more s needed to purée fruit). Blend until liquified.


The smoke

Like I said earlier, mine didn’t keep the smokey flavor. But I’ll type up what I did so you know how not to do it! Do use a smoke gun if you can, and don’t burn your house down doing what I did.

I used pasta sticks for flame so it wouldn’t taint the flavor (like if you used a lighter or candle directly).

Be safe!! I used an old metal baking sheet covered in foil for my experiments. I had a spray bottle of water nearby too.

Thyme (for pear cocktail)

I used a sprig of fresh thyme. I think if I had dried it longer first, and maybe used more, the smoke would’ve worked better.

Use lit pasta stick to scorch thyme. Once smoking, place upsidedown cup over sprig and estinguish.

Marshmallow (for apple cocktail)

Chances are you’ve lit a marshmallow on fire before. You’re doing that again here, but not over a campfire.

I made a little platform for mine out of a rolled up piece of foil.

Sit marshmallow on foil, use lit pasta to ignite marshmallow. While still lit, place glass over marshmallow and press down to suffocate flame.

Leave glass face down over smoke source while mixing cocktail.

The cocktails

Fill mixing glass with ice. Pour in and mix gin, cider/juice, and bitters.

If using cinnamon sticks, add one now so it can start to infuse. (I only used it for my pear recipe, but it’d be amazing in the apple one too!)

Strain and pour into smoked glass.

Top with mixer–hard cider or ginger beer. (Don’t overdo it!)


The Garnish
Pear cocktail

I used a couple sprigs of fresh thyme and a cinnamon stick for this one.

Apple cocktail

I garnished with the marshmallow I toasted for the smoke, which was very tasty even if the smoke part didn’t hold up!

That’s about it! I did enjoy both recipes, though I think the pear one is extra interesting just because I don’t see pear drinks often. It’s easy for that ginger flavor to overwhelm, so be careful when adding it.

I highly recommend chilling at least your mixer beforehand. It’ll make your drink less watery.

Be sure to prep your supplies before starting!

Strain out the pulp and you’re left with applesauce!

My don’t-burn-the-house-down prep. Old metal pan covered in foil! I used a candle to relight the pasta.

If you don’t blink, it won’t see you coming.

An intimidating tool if you’ve never used it. Easier than it looks though! It’s called a Hawthorne strainer.

Gentle stir, especially if you used something fizzy!